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Conservation Easement Incentive Act of 2015

Overview:
A bill has been introduced to House (H.R. 641) and Senate (S.330) that amends the Internal Revenue Code to: (1) make permanent the tax deduction for charitable contributions by individuals and corporations of real property interests for conservation purposes, and (2) allow Native Corporations an increased tax deduction for donations of conservation easements related to lands conveyed under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.

 

The Issue at Hand:
The We Are Golf (WAG) coalition, of which the NGCOA is a founding member, scored a significant victory recently when it successfully reversed an effort within the Senate Finance Committee to specifically exclude golf courses from conservation easement tax incentive eligibility. Without passage of this bill, the IRS will find golf courses to be an easy target for denying the tax benefits from having an approved Conservation Easement agreement.

 

NGCOA Position:
The NGCOA encouraged members in key states to act on behalf of this change. Forbes-Tate, We Are Golf's Washington, D.C.-based advocacy firm, led an effort that was supported by several WAG member organizations, including the NGCOA, to convince key members of the Senate Finance Committee to include golf courses among land uses eligible for conservation easement tax incentives. WAG will continue to remain vigilant with both the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee to ensure that golf courses remain eligible for conservation easement tax incentives. While WAG was successful in this instance, much work remains to ensure that golf courses retain their conservation easement tax incentive eligibility. The battle is not over. Recently during a recent Senate hearing on the Flint Michigan water crisis, Michigan Senator Gary Peters presented to members a proposal to rescind the tax incentives golf courses receive from the conservation easement tax incentive, as a means to provide the emergency funds sought by the state. Fortunately this recommendation did not receive support from the full Senate, but it is shows the vulnerability we face if congress fails to make this tax permanent.

 

What You Can Do:
Passage of this bill, to make the tax benefit become permanent is critical to ensuring golf courses are treated equally with all other businesses and corporations. Contact your local representative and encourage their support for passage of this legislation. To learn more about this bill, you can visit the Senate’s version or House version. To learn more about establishing a Conservation Easement, click here.


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